Art Supply Organization

If your child’s art supplies are anything like ours, they tend to overflow into a state of disorganization pretty quickly.  As a self-proclaimed scatterer, I won’t profess expertise at organization, but in attempting to bring some order to my home I’ve landed on some decent solutions toward wrangling art materials in a small space.  And, in the process, I found some compelling solutions by other creative folks that may appeal to you too. If you’d like to share your own great space-saving, kid-friendly, easy-access solutions, I’d love to hear about them.

First, there are the art staples that live on our art table for easy access. If I notice something is going unused, I’ll replace it, but these mainly remain the same. For now we’re using Markers, Crayons, Dot Makers, Glue (squeezable and stick), Painter’s tape (for taping paper down), and Small Pads of Paper. I found these nifty little metal bins in the dollar section of Target that are small enough that they don’t overwhelm the table. The crayons are mostly ignored, but for some reason I feel the need to keep them around. Maybe it’s time to replace them with some stickers?

Next, I think it’s important to give kids easy access to paper, so they can make art when the fancy strikes. Because our art area in in our living room, the solution I came up with is filling a basket with paper and placing it on one of our low bookshelves. I really like the 80 lb. white sulphite paper from Discount School Supply. Thanks to The Artful Parent for this tip! It’s heavy enough to take wet media and large amounts of glue, but flexible and thin enough that it doesn’t get bulky when you want to store completed projects. N is now in the practice of saying “I want to make art!” and grabs her own paper. Not that I’m especially lazy…well, maybe just a bit…but it’s really nice when kids can help themselves! Adults are more relaxed and kids are more empowered.

And finally, we have storage all over the house for the extra supplies like paints, play dough, stickers, stamps, pipe cleaners, brushes, sponges, rolls of paper, etc. Most of it is stored away in a locked cabinet or high shelf, but it’s nice to have little things handy for on-the-spot art making. So, another area of our living room shelves (a little higher than the paper) is dedicated to little things that I can get to on the fly. And they’re high enough — for now — that my daughter can’t unload them without my assistance.

Other Solutions

Top Row:

  1. Marker/Pen/Pencil holder upcycled from a phonebook. From Makezine.
  2. Keep the tabletop clear with pockets made from kids aprons. From Lowes Creative Ideas.
  3. Preschool-style bins for organizing supplies at kid height. From Day Care Mall.

Bottom Row:

  1. Bookshelf/Art Supply area. Low access for kids and high access for adults. From Jessica Lucia on Flickr.
  2. Art supplies that are easy to see. From Gently Down the Stream on Flickr.
  3. Corkboard, Chalkboard, and Painting station. From Pottery Barn Kids.

And finally, Amberlee at Giver’s Log has written a nice post on organizing kids’ art supplies that’s worth checking out.

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for these pointers! I too am a scatterer, and trying to keep art supplies organized for our 31-mo-old is starting to get messy. I like your small bins on the table and easy-access paper. You’ve got so many great ideas here; we’re trying gelatin and animals tomorrow :)

  2. says

    Hi Rachelle,
    I love your art storage! I have a 17 month old, so I am at a point where things need to be less accessible to him, but still accessible for my 7 year old. Talk about a challenge!
    I had a suggestion for your crayons issue- I like your stickers idea- we have so many stickers though that they have to have their own box. I was thinking a good thing to replace the crayons with, would be oil pastels. They’re more vibrant than crayons, which makes them more fun for my sweet art girl. Anyway, I thought they might attract more interest than the crayons.
    Thanks for the great post, I’m reading all your organization posts. I’m a fluid person in regards to my furniture too. :)
    Chrissy

    • rachelle says

      Hi Chrissy,
      I love how the internet can bring us kindred spirits together. The age span of your children would be quite a challenge, but I think you’re almost at the point where your kids can both enjoy a creative space. 17-month olds are happy to dump things out and tip things over, which isn’t so fun for older children, but I bet in another half year or so, that will change. Thanks for oil pastel suggestion. It’s been a while since I’ve pulled those out — great reminder.
      Take care,
      Rachelle